Ear Wax Buildup: What You Need to be Aware of

Woman suffering from earwax blockage applying ear drops herself

Don’t forget to wash your ears. Whenever you say that, you inevitably use your “parent voice”. Perhaps you even remember getting that advice as a kid. As you get wrapped up in past nostalgia, that sort of memory can take you back to simpler times.

But that advice can be pretty helpful. Your hearing can be significantly impacted by an overabundance of earwax. Still worse, this organic compound can solidify in place making it difficult to clean out. In other words, the cleaner you keep your ears, the better off you’ll be.

Excessive earwax? Eww!

We get it, earwax is not the most appealing of materials. And we’re not going to attempt to change your mind about that. But it’s actually essential for the health of your ears. Earwax is produced by glands inside of your ears and is then pushed out when you chew in order to keep your ears free of dust and dirt.

In other words, the correct amount of earwax can help keep your ears clean and healthy. It may seem weird, but earwax doesn’t indicate poor hygiene.

Too much earwax is where the trouble starts. And, naturally, it can sometimes be a bit challenging to tell when a healthy quantity of earwax starts to outweigh its advantages (literally).

What is the consequence of accumulated earwax?

So, what develops as a result of excess earwax? There are several problems that may arise as a result of out-of-control earwax or earwax that builds up over time. Those problems include:

  • Infection: Infections can be the consequence of excessive earwax. If fluid builds up, it can get trapped behind impacted earwax.
  • Tinnitus: When you hear buzzing and ringing that isn’t actually there, you’re usually dealing with a condition called tinnitus. Tinnitus symptoms can appear or get worse when earwax is built up inside your ear.
  • Earache: One of the most prevalent signs of accumulated earwax is an earache. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt that much, and other times it can hurt a lot. This typically happens when earwax is creating pressure in places that it shouldn’t be.
  • Dizziness: Your ability to maintain balance depends greatly on your inner ear. So when accumulated ear wax causes your inner ear to get out of whack, your balance can suffer, causing you to feel dizzy.

This list is only the beginning. Neglected earwax can trigger painful headaches. If you use hearing aids, excess earwax can interfere with them. So too much earwax might make you think your hearing aids are malfunctioning.

Can your hearing be impacted by earwax?

Well, yes it can. Hearing loss is one of the most common problems linked to excess earwax. When earwax builds up in the ear canal it produces a blockage of sound causing a kind of hearing loss called conductive hearing loss. Your hearing will usually return to normal after the wax is cleaned out.

But there can be sustained damage caused by excess earwax, especially if the buildup gets extreme enough. And tinnitus is also typically temporary but when earwax blockage persists, permanent damage can cause tinnitus to become a lasting condition.

Prevention, treatment, or both?

It’s a good plan to keep an eye on your earwax if you want to safeguard your hearing. In many circumstances, earwax accumulation is caused not by excess production but by improper cleaning (for example, blockage is often caused by cotton swabs, which tend to push the earwax further in instead of getting rid of it).

Often, the wax has become hardened, dense, and unmovable without professional help. You’ll be capable of starting to hear again as soon as you get that treatment and then you can start over, cleaning your ears the right way.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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